July 6, 2008

Notes: Saints Counting Down to Training Camp

Pocketbooks wide open in New Orleans sports; injury report; Grant sued in civil court over bar fight

Pocketbooks Wide Open: Between the NFL's Saints and the NBA's Hornets, the floodgates have opened and look to stay open for the next month or so.

Both teams have secured their superstars, the Saints in giving Will Smith a new six-year, $70 million deal and the Hornets in signing Chris Paul to a three-year, $45 million deal with a player option for a fourth, $23 million year.

The Saints have still to sign seventh overall pick DT Sedrick Ellis and the rest of their draft class, as well as a new extension for WR Marques Colston. Ellis' contract will be in the neighborhood of $42 million with $18 million guaranteed over six years.

The Hornets will likely make an acquisition using their mid-level exception, which would be a deal averaging $5.8 million per year, though that is not a certainty.

Injury Report: Whether or not the reports are optimistic, both RB Deuce McAllister and CB Mike McKenzie are reportedly on track to be ready to play for training camp.

Whether that means they will be their old selves is very much in question. It is certain that both will be given numerous days off as swelling in their surgically repaired knees occurs during the stress of training camp. It is a long time between now and kickoff on September 7th, but at this point is seems more likely that McAllister could start than McKenzie for two reasons: McAllister was injured two months before McKenzie and also faces less competition for his services.

McAllister's main competition for the starting job is Pierre Thomas and Aaron Stecker. Reggie Bush's role is not expected to be that of a first down pounder like McAllister is suited for.

At cornerback, McKenzie faces two high draft picks in Tracy Porter and Usama Young, two new free agent veterans in Randall Gay and Aaron Glenn, and two returning veterans in Jason Craft and Jason David.

Grant Sued: In addition to grand jury criminal charges against him, Saints DE Charles Grant is now also facing a civil suit from the family of the Georgia woman killed in a February bar fight. Grant is a facing involuntary manslaughter felony charge, one of seven men charged, and posted bond in May. Grant is not charged with homicide of the woman, Korynda Reed, or her fetus.

O-Line Shuffle: The Saints have signed a pair of Voodoo linemen to their offseason roster. Rob Hunt and Isaiah Ross played offensive line for the 8-8 Voodoo, whose disappointing season ended on June 21. To make room, the Saints released rookie offensive lineman Carnell Stewart from LSU and street free agent lineman Marquay Love. Both Stewart and Love had been Saints for only a matter of weeks.

Both Ross and Hunt are veterans of the now-defunct NFL Europa league. Ross caught five touchdowns for the Voodoo in 2008. Both have journeyed around the NFL, AFL and NFL-E for the past four years.

The Voodoo started off 7-2 but finished 8-8, losing four straight road games and two of their last three at home. They were still alive in the playoff hunt in the final week but couldn't get past Grand Rapids at home.

New Scout In: The Saints have plucked scout Brian Adams from the staff of the Carolina Panthers and named him assistant director of college scouting. Adams, 47, has been scouting for the Panthers for the last eight years.

Notes: Baton Rouge-location Capitol High Academy will represent the New Orleans Saints in a national, NFL-sponsored 7-on-7 high school tournament. The team won a state tournament hosted by the Saints in June... The Chiefs signed former Saint DE Trevor Johnson... The Titans have signed former Saint undrafted rookie signee Rocky Schwartz, a defensive back from the University of Houston... Saints GM Mickey Loomis is a member of the newly-formed NFL General Managers Advisory Committee, who will oversee game integrity and offseason activities...

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